Yangshuo, China, April 2019: According to Microsoft’s Bing web browser, downstream from Yangshuo is a village called Fuli. Notable for its situation on the River Li and for being the place to experience a little piece of China’s old time authenticity. Here visitors can see some delicate arts such as traditional paper fan painting but best of all, its just a short-ish bike ride east of Yangshuo town. So, lets down this KFC coffee and apply some pedal power, before it starts raining again!
Fuli, downstream Yangshuo
Leaving town via the main highway
Heading East is a new direction for this creaky old cycle that’s costing me a hefty £1.20 for the day. The only way out of town in this direction is along the main busy highway. A precarious ride through the narrow tunnel then across the town bridge spanning the mighty Li river is a ride for the brave – especially through that tunnel with lorries and buses passing within what seems just a couple of meters, one false move from either of us and it could all be over, very quickly! Thankfully, there is light and the end of the tunnel in this instance, emerging in one piece, unscathed and keen to get to Fuli.
Fuli town can be separated into the new and the old. The new developments are sited along the highway while the original village is a short ride down towards the riverside. Its taken about an hour to get to this rather sleepy but quaint little place where its old timers can be seen sitting in doorways chewing the fat – no doubt remarking that there’s a white tourist in the village.
Lets chew the fat…
Cobbled streets, paved concrete lanes and antiques, not to mention a few of the houses where one can witness the ancient art of hand painting paper fans. They are of course for sale, but such delicate articles like paper fans are unlikely to make it all the way to England in on piece in my already overflowing back pack.
No mass production here, all hand painted we are told!
Antiques or mass produced?
A deathly quiet place on the whole. but a place where visitors can witness Chinese village life without all that pretentious tourist stuff that we have to endure nowadays. Fuli clearly has historic origins being situated on a navigable river and with ancient dwellings often crumbling into disrepair. The riverside is a nice spot for lunch – peaceful, the ultimate tranquil setting is here by the river in Fuli.
Across the river is another small village, accessed by a ferry waiting at the dock here almost as if my arrival was anticipated. A quick look at the map suggests this could be an alternative way back to Yangshuo. A ride on the ferry with cycle costs 10 Yuan, about £1.25 and lasts all of 6 minutes. For those that don’t feel the £30 4 hour boat ride from Guilin to Yangshuo can be justified, then the £1.25 here is well spent with scenery included!
On the River Li a Fuli, gloomy weather.
Chinese Ferry across the Li.
The dwellings here on the opposite side of the river amount to nothing more than a farming hamlet. Nothing much to see but there is a route back to Yangshuo, avoiding the main highway and that precarious tunnel. Yes, a tranquil countryside setting for the ride back to town, here’s a few snaps along the way…
Follow the sign